The First National Deputy President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture NACCIMA, Otunba Dele Oye has urged institutions of higher learning to develop more entrepreneurship programmes by collaborating with industries so that youths can be gainfully employed in order to minimize tendencies toward crime . Oye stated this while delivering an address at the University/ Industry Forum of the Federal University of Technology Akure,FUTA with the theme: The Future of Work: Implications for Industry and Higher Education as part of activities marking the 40th Anniversary of the institution on Thursday , November 12,2021.
Oye called for a robust university industry collaboration to ensure that more youths are taken off the streets and are contributing their quota to national development. He said “I am happy to engage with the university using the NACCIMA platform to do all we can for the youth. Our biggest problem in Nigeria is lack of opportunities for the youth. If our youth can use their laptops to build apps that can employ them for life and change the society, they will not use them to commit fraud. Perhaps they will give up the need for immediate luxury and focus on building lasting legacies. NACCIMA is ready to partner with the youth and provide mentorship with various captains of industries. Here students can have practical hands-on experience that will facilitate learning and innovative ideas.”
He said Industries should support institutions to thrive and reiterated the fact that the government alone cannot fund the projects in tertiary institutions. The onus he said lies on organizations to throw their weight towards investing in the youth some of whom are gradually slipping into lawlessness and are being lured into unscrupulous activities.
Otunba Oye commended the University management and the anniversary committee for choosing the theme which he described as laudable, progressive and strategic theme and wished FUTA more success in her efforts of nurturing future professionals with an international mindset. He praised the institution for being trailblazer with a world class vision and its readiness to engage with other progressive minded individuals and organization and develop FUTA into an institution of great innovation and application of knowledge.
While giving the keynote address Chairman, Greenwich Merchant Bank Mr. Kayode Falowo represented by the Managing Director of the bank Mr. Bayo Rotimi said technology is the future and a great enabler for industry, commerce and economic development and empowerment. He said technology gives people great opportunities to do exciting things. He pointed out that technology has made it possible to have efficient and productive meetings. He pointed out that artificial intelligence can now be applied to every level of human endeavor from finance to education to agriculture. The industrial revolution has shaken things up and the previous methods of doing things have become redundant.
He said interestingly in the continent of Africa there are five technological companies that are described as unicorns which are companies that have gotten a billion dollars in valuation and of those five unicorns three of them are of Nigerian origin. Falowo pointed out that in the middle of the pandemic of last year of all of the countries that were the destination of investment by private equity funds across Africa, Nigeria was number one. According to him, foreigners see significant potential but for Nigeria to live to its full potential it needs to become an industrial power house.
He disclosed that despite the alarming rate of recourse of some youth into crime, many young Nigerians are doing amazing things in the technological space and this should be encouraged by the government and the private sector. He implored youths to seek to make significant impact on the platform of technologically driven ideas and urged universities to collaborate and partner with industries. He said universities should create solutions to simplify things or solve problems so that industries can invest.
He said the future of work has changed permanently in terms of who does the work as people work remotely and gradually robots are replacing humans. It is important therefore for everyone who wants to remain relevant to key into this innovation. He reiterated that in spite of the challenges that came with Covid it has brought manifold blessings and technological advancements and delivered all manner of solutions to create value.
Corroborating them a one-time Minister of Defense of the federal republic of Nigeria, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode stressed the need to prepare future Nigerian youth for a life of “joblessness” a period when there will be no need to seek for jobs but rather create them. He said COVID came to accelerate the reality of life in the twenty first century. Technology he said is driving work presently and gradually replacing man thus this an age of robots. He said the university must as a matter of urgency begin to inculcate the technology application mindset into its students and how to effectively deal with the challenges of the twenty first century. He added that it was pertinent to prepare students for a life of entrepreneurship so that they don’t have to look for jobs.
Adetokunbo advocated for a deliberate collaboration and partnership with industries to ensure that youths are empowered with grants. He said the gap between the university and industries must be closed. According to him universities of technology were established in the face of the reality that technology will one day rule the world. To this end he said research breakthroughs should be taken to the grassroots for people to see and apply. There must be concerted efforts to translate research findings into technological solutions to the day-to-day challenges of the common man and which will in turn jobs for the youth.
During a panel discussion in the course of the event, Mrs. Olufunke Aiyepola, MD/CE, UTL Trust Management Services represented by Mr. John Agunbiade, Prince Dapo Adelegan, 14th President, Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce and Investment, Lagos, and Professor Ganiyu Oboh, Director, Centre for Research and Development (CERAD) FUTA agreed that it is only when universities churn out quality innovative products that that can solve societal problems. They said investors will be motivated to finance and fund these innovations. They also harped on the need for students to be taught creative thinking and how to empower themselves and others.
Earlier in his speech the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Fuwape said, to promote, develop and sustain strategic collaborations and partnerships with different industries in Nigeria, Africa and the whole world, the Federal University of Technology, Akure decided to organize the strategic forum, and also converge various sectors of Nigerian industries to showcase products and services develop by FUTA staff and students, and share knowledge, ideas and competencies with industry key players. According to him it would enable the two parties, University and Industry, to collaborate for the growth and development of the national economy.
In addition, the Vice Chancellor said that the Federal University of Technology, Akure hopes to serve as a training hub for industrial research and development, designs, operations, productions, management, scientific analyses and technological advancement. It is our wish to have FUTA Industrial Park, in this part of the nation, where our talented youths and adults would exhibit and nurture their skills for industrialization and national development. This he said could be achieved through the kind and generous support of investors to this cause.
In his remarks the Chairman FUTA 40th Anniversary Committee, Professor Tomola Obamuyi commended the Vice Chancellor for maintaining high quality standard of learning teaching and research in the university and ensuring that the expectations for setting up the university are achieved. He said under his watch FUTA has made significant progress and has continued to hold its own in the comity of universities locally and globally. He also lauded the university management for its unalloyed support in the development of the university.
He said there has been no better time to bridge the gap between the university and industry and to produce a generation of self-reliant youths. He said repositioning higher institutions for effective service delivery was a matter of urgency and urged all stakeholders to go all out to support higher institutions and complement the government’s efforts as they cannot be funded by government alone.
High point of the occasion was the award of excellence given to the Chairman of the Occasion, Otunba Dele Oye, the key note Speaker Mr. Kayode Falowo, the panel of discussants, Professor Ganiyu Oboh, Prince Dapo Adelegan, and Mrs. Funke Aiyepola.